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NCCS Gets HPC Upgrade

Fri, 07/16/2010 - 5:52am
NCCS Gets HPC Upgrade

NCCS Gets HPC Upgrade
The heart of NCCS is the “Discover” supercomputer. In 2009, NCCS added more than 8,000 computer processors to Discover, for a total of nearly 15,000 processors. Discover-hosted simulations span time scales from days (weather prediction) to seasons and years (short-term climate prediction) to decades and centuries (climate change projection). Courtesy of NASA/Pat Izzo  
NASA Center for Climate Simulation Expands Research Capabilities with Dell High-Performance Computing Technology

Dell is providing the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), located at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with new Dell PowerEdge C6100 servers customized for high-performance computing environments.

With the new servers, NCCS users at Goddard and locations across the U.S. will conduct simulation modeling and data analysis to explore, understand and predict climate change.

NCCS is an integrated set of supercomputing, visualization and data interaction technologies designed to enhance NASA capabilities in weather and climate prediction research. NCCS is part of the NASA High-End Computing Program and serves the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

NASA researchers will benefit from significant improvements in the Dell PowerEdge C6100’s system performance and reductions in energy consumption over previous generation servers — with anticipated improvements of 69 percent in performance and 47 percent in energy efficiency.

The new servers will double NCCS computational capabilities to more than 300 trillion calculations per second. This will enable NCCS users to fine-tune global model resolutions to capture smaller-scale features in the atmosphere and oceans.

Enhanced NCCS capabilities include:

The 15,000-processor "Discover" supercomputer with a peak performance of nearly 160 trillion operations per second.

A 17- by 6-foot multi-screen visualization wall for displaying high-definition movies of simulation results and interactive data visualizations.

An analysis system offering dedicated software tools for visualization, workflow management, and diagnostics.

A new data management system for accessing and locating data within NCCS' multi-petabyte (peta = 1,000 trillion) archive.

An Earth System Grid node for distributing simulation data from NASA's contributions to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"The computing resources at NCCS are critical to our ability to use NASA satellite data in our model-based analyses, which help us characterize and understand Earth's changing climate," said Michele Rienecker, GMAO head. "Moreover, NCCS enables us to undertake climate simulations and predictions and to share the results with our fellow scientists and other users."

Launched this spring, the Dell PowerEdge C6100 is proving popular with universities and public and private sector research organizations committed to increasing HPC efficiency with open, affordable technologies. Simplified systems installation also means customers can take advantage of the latest processors and emerging technologies more quickly.

“When we debuted the NASA Center for Climate Simulation this spring, we anticipated expanding our high-performance computing capabilities to meet the growing needs of NASA’s earth and space science user community,” said Phil Webster, chief of Goddard's computational and information sciences and technology office. “We chose to use Dell’s PowerEdge servers based upon both the commitment of Dell to the HPC community and the ability of their systems to scale with our program over time.”

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